Monday, 31 March 2014

This looks an interesting event, for readers within hollering distance of London: 

‘Affective Translations’
A CCWW Cross-Cultural Seminar
Saturday 10 May 2014, 2-4 pm, room G21a, Senate House, University of London

Organiser/Chair: Michela Baldo (CCWW/IMLR)

Round-table participants:
Aoi Matsushima (Translator/Writer, Japanese-English)
Sian Reynolds (French Scholar/Translator, French-English)
Isabel del Rio (Bilingual Writer/Linguist, Spanish-English)
Cristina Viti (Translator, English-Italian)

The aim of this translation seminar is to investigate the role of affect in translation, looking at how translating affects translators in the same way that translators affect translations. In the last 15 years, Translation Studies as a discipline has witnessed an increased interest in the agency of translators, from Venuti’s (1995; 1998) advocacy of the visibility of translators in the late '90s to the more recent sociological turn in the discipline which sees translators as ethical actors. However, more research needs to be carried out on the role of affect in translation. Translator and scholar Carole Maier (2002; 2006) identifies the visceral effect that translation might exert on translators and how translation can affect the translator’s body as a disease, a contamination that the translator is not immune to.

On the other hand the analysis of affect has recently emerged in a number of other disciplines. According to Latour (2004) to have a body is to learn to be affected, to be put into motion by other entities, human and non-human, to shift one’s affect into action. Affect arises in the in-betweeness, in the relationships between bodies and objects. Given these points, this seminar aims at understanding how translators are emotionally affected by their translations (and their translation tools) and capable of affecting others, of creating networks of affection.

The format of the seminar will be a round-table discussion, comprising female translators/authors living in the UK, who will introduce their work and answer questions on the above issues. For further info, see here.

All welcome. If you plan to attend, please advise gill.rye at

Professor Emerita Gill Rye,
Director, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing,
Institute of Modern Languages Research,
School of Advanced Study,
University of London,
Senate House,
Malet Street,
London WC1E 7HU,

Thursday, 27 March 2014

French translation of 'Subtitles for People Who Really Like the Film' now online!

I got some lovely news today from the fantastic blog Les Piles Intermédiaires. Unto them is published this day a French translation of a MATSnews blog post called 'Subtitles for People Who Really Like The Film'. 

The French translation, titled as it were in the optative, is called 'À quand des "sous-titres pour ceux qui aiment vraiment le film"?' When you have finished reading it you might like to check out some of the other posts by Les Piles, who, when not translating, writes with more irony than should be legal about translation. Among other things, LP hoards screenshots of subtitles about translation, just because. Check out the list of posts.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Poem about translation 19: 'To the Translator, Somewhere in New England, on the Road to Far Cathay'

This latest instalment in the poems about translation series is by the Chinese-English translator Steve Bradbury, from the excellent online literary magazine Cipher

I was drawn to the title, 'To the Translator, Somewhere in New England, on the Road to Far Cathay' partly because I spent some time in China recently for work - an extraordinary experience, whose extraordinariness was experienced partly through language (and the lack of it) and partly through the cultural prism of Arthur Waley's translations of Chinese poetry, which I got to know as a child.

The poem speaks for itself, so I won't comment further here.

For more from Bradbury about translation see his translation of three poems by Shang Qin here and his translation and comment on a quatrain of Li Bai, also known as Li Po, here. This quatrain has been most famously translated - why do I want to say 'covered'? - by Ezra Pound.

Pound's translation, from the collection Cathay, can be read on the Poetry Foundation website. It's free verse, rather than the metrical, rhyming quatrain that Bradbury favours - but then, as he observes in his address to the translator, how do you follow Pound?

For more of Bradbury's comment on translating Li Bai/Li Po, see issue 66 of Translation Review which is still freely downloadable at time of writing here. For more versions of Li Bai's poem, see here, here, here and here.  

Friday, 21 March 2014

Cardiff University Postgraduate Conference, 27 May 2014, CFP deadline 31 March

The Translator: Competence, Credentials, Creativity 
Keynote speaker: Professor Theo Hermans (UCL)
‘The translator’ lies at the heart of much research in translation studies and other disciplines and yet closer inspection reveals ‘the translator’ to be an intriguingly nebulous concept. This conference invites postgraduate researchers from arts and humanities, social sciences and other fields to revisit and advance work on the figure of the translator and the criteria that contribute to our understanding of the protean persona, focusing on such criteria as competence, credentials and creativity. 
While we welcome any perspective on the translator, we also hope to showcase a strand of work on contemporary translators. For example, it might be revealing to explore the impact of technology and Web 2.0 on translators and to expand recent work on non-professional translators (e.g. fan translators, activist translators or natural translators). A conference hosted in Wales may also provide a particularly appropriate setting for the consideration of the translator’s role in (re-)constructing contemporary group identities, be it local or global, national, transnational or ‘post-national’. Another avenue of inquiry might concern the postmodern perceptions of the fluidity of borders between socio-cultural and artistic entities as well as media, and the resulting perceived overlaps between the figures of ‘the translator’, the migrant, the author, the artist and other socio-cultural agents. Finally, the discussion might be informed by the current trend to incorporate, broadly speaking, non-Western conceptualizations of translation and ‘the translator’. 

Papers may address questions which include, but are not limited to, the following:
-        Language and translation/interpreting competence
-        Technological competence and subject specialization
-        Translator/interpreter training and the profession
-        Bilingualism, biculturalism, code-switching
-        Non-professional translators/interpreters
-        The translator’s credentials and authority
-        The translator and group identity (local, national, global etc.)
-        The translator’s identity and visibility
-        The translator’s creativity and craft
-        Adaptation and inter-media translation
-        The translator and the artist (writer, musician, film-maker etc.)
-        The translator and the migrant
-        The translator and communicating between fields of knowledge
-        The translator: past and present
Please send a 300 word proposal for a 20 minute presentation along with a short biographical note at at by 31 March 2014.
We will notify you of the results by 5 April 2014 (please contact us if you require an earlier response to be able to attend). Please use the same contact address for queries.
Please inform us if you would like to deliver a paper in Welsh: every effort will be made to provide simultaneous English interpretation. We would appreciate if you could supply an abstract in English (as well as Welsh if relevant).
Organizing committee: Dia Borresly, Lisi Liang, Esther Liu, Sara Orwig, Dorota Goluch
The event is kindly supported by the University Graduate College and the European School of Languages, Politics and Translation.
Our event coincides in time with another event co-organized by the European School of Languages, Politics and Translation, which might be of interest to our participants: it is the ‘Translation in Music’ symposium, held on 25-26 May 2014. Please see for details.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Munday on the creative voice of the translator

I recently came across a really satisfying article by Jeremy Munday in a 2009 issue of Romance Studies. The article is called 'The Creative Voice of the Translator of Latin American Literature' and it outlines some of the debate there has been around the notion of creativity in Translation Studies. It uses Michael Hoey's notion of lexical priming to look at the ways in which we might read lexical and phrasal choices in translation as elements of creative practice. 

As with all the most satisfying articles, I don't agree with every step in the argument - for instance, I have more time than Munday does for wacky exercises like translating from languages one doesn't understand - but it's an elegant and wide-ranging treatment of creativity in translation. I absolutely agree with Munday that 'there remains a relative absence of detailed descriptions of the creative process by which the translator reshapes the text [...], of the nitty-gritty detail of the whys and wherefores of textual modification [...]'. He quotes the translator Peter Bush (aptly enough, since Bush has contributed a lot of nitty-gritty detail over the years) on where the translator 'sits' in the creative process:
Translatorly readings of literature provoke the otherness within the subject of the translator, work at a level not entirely under the control of the rationalising discourse of the mind, release ingredients from the subconscious magma of language and experience, shoot off in many directions, provoked by the necessity of the creation of new writing. A professional translator is one who is aware of this process, gives it full rein, and is able to hold it in check [...]
He also turns to Junot Díaz to refute the idea of loss in translation:
So many writers take the position that with translation you lose a lot. But really, how much do you lose? Do you lose more than when you speak any language? Isn't language already an act of compromise with reality?
I'm just sorry I didn't find the article in time for a recent encyclopedia entry on creativity that I wrote for the John Benjamins Handbook of Translation Studies - it should be included.

It's a timely reminder of the importance of working with physical books and journals. All my keyword searching for the Benjamins book didn't come up with this article (which in retrospect seems surprising); it was through coming across a physical copy of the journal issue that I became aware of the article (and another great article by Andrew Rothwell in the same issue: 'Translating 'Pure Nonsense': Walter Benjamin Meets Systran on the Dissecting Table of Dada').

This kind of bibliographical encounter is something which, to some extent, we are losing with the shift to ejournals and ebooks. Keyword searching and library-shelf-browsing juxtapose items in very different ways. Even library-shelf-browsing and ejournal-table-of-contents-browsing don't necessarily yield the same results. Let's hope that academic libraries remain places where we can do both.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spanish translation slam with Nick Caistor and Rosalind Harvey, 26 March 2014, Bristol

My colleague Rosie Doyle at Bristol has organised this great event next week; free and open to all. Tell your friends! 

Spanish Literary Translation Slam
Wednesday 26 March 6:30-8:00pm
Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies,
University of Bristol
Lecture Theatre 3, 15 Woodland Rd
(Please access the building through 3-5 Woodland Rd)

Literary translators Nick Caistor and Rosalind Harvey will go head to head to produce a live translation of a literary text from Spanish to English. Come and watch the professionals at work, live! You will have the opportunity to discuss the translators’ decisions and gain insight into the work of a literary translator.

Nick Caistor is a translator, journalist and author of non-fiction books. He has translated over 40 books from Spanish and Portuguese. These include works by Paulo Coelho, Eduardo Mendoza, Juan Marsé, Manuel Vázquez Montalban and Andrés Neuman. He has twice been awarded the Valle-Inclán prize for translation, while his short biography of Che Guevara (Macmillan) was praised as 'a biography of Che Guevara for grown-ups'. He has also published a biography of Fidel Castro and a 'Critical Life' of the Mexican poet Octavio Paz (both for Reaktion Books) and a cultural history of Mexico City (Signal Books) As a journalist, he has presented and produced many programmes on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, and contributes regularly to the TLS and Guardian. [You can read some of Nick's thoughts on literary translation here and here]

Rosalind Harvey is the translator of a number of Latin American novels and co-founder of the Emerging Translators Network. She has held a prestigious fellowship at the Free Word Centre in London and writes regularly for Words without Borders. Her translation of Juan Pablo Villalobos's debut novel Down the Rabbit Hole was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Oxford-Weidenfeld prize. Her co-translation of Dublinesque was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize and has been long listed for the Dublin IMPAC award. Her latest translation is Villalobos’s Quesadillas, with And Other Stories and FSG. [You can listen to Rosalind talking about getting started as a literary translator here, and answering readers' questions here.]

The project is very kindly sponsored by the School of Modern Languages.
For further enquiries please contact Rosie Doyle on rd13066 at 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Council for British Research in the Levant Arabic scholarships

An opportunity which looks very interesting (plus, you get to visit the wonderful British Institute in Amman) (minus, website which seems slightly incoherent and difficult to find information on): 

Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) Arabic Bursary 

The CBRL Arabic Bursary comprises three elements:
  • the full cost of tuition fees for the CBRL Academic Arabic Programme at IFPO;
  • the reimbursement of one economy class return airfare between the UK and Beirut, Lebanon, up to the limit of £600;
  • an accommodation allowance of £650.
Application forms may be obtained from or directly from the UK Administrative Secretary cbrl at

 The deadline for receipt of bursary applications is 18 April 2014.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Call for papers: special issue on community interpreting

A call for papers on a topic which is one of the most important ones in current translation and interpreting studies research. The journal publishing this issue is open access. 

Call for papers for special issue on: 

Mapping the Present for the Future

Guest Editors: 

Aline Remael (University of Antwerp)
Mary Carroll (MiKK, Berlin) 
Translation & Interpreting journal
University of Western Sydney, Australia

Today multilingualism and multiculturalism have become common features of countries and societies worldwide. This striking development has major consequences for the way institutions function and guarantee human rights. It also impacts on how and whether citizens and populations can exercise their human rights and avail themselves of social and public services. The ways in which different societies and their policy-makers have been coping with the diversity of their populations differs, but there is growing awareness across the globe of the need to address these issues.

Public service interpreting, including all forms of community interpreting and legal interpreting, has been central to governments’ and NGOs’ policies, but has been developing at a different pace and with varying priorities in different regions. Policy, research and training have been working to meet the need for interpreting in a myriad of contexts and into an ever-increasing number of languages post-factum. In doing so, progress has been made in many areas and a great deal of consensus is evident regarding what still needs to be accomplished. This has been borne out by the topics raised and discussed at many interpreting conferences, including InDialog, Mapping the Field of Community Interpreting, held in Berlin in November 2013.

In a sense, the sector has been working in “post-production”, making finished products, in this case, public services, accessible, rather than designing full access for all from the outset as an integral part of the services on offer. The guest editors of this issue would like to invite its potential contributors to tackle the question of how public service interpreting and all other forms of dialogue interpreting in a social or legal context could become an integral part of a well-organized (democratic) society in which access to information and services is the responsibility of all: policy-makers, service providers, interpreters and users.

Submission process:
1. Submission of full papers: 1 September 2014 via the journal’s submission system, by logging to, going to the “For Authors” tab on the right and following the prompts.
2. Author guidelines appear in the “About the journal” tab.
3. Please feel free to contact the guest editors if you have any questions/concerns: aline.remael at; mary.carroll at

Important issues and dates
1. Length of full manuscripts: 5,000-6,000 words (+ bibliography)
2. Deadline for sending manuscripts to guest editors: 1 September 2014
3. Expected publication date: July 2015

Submission of full manuscripts 1/9/2014 

Refereeing process September – February 
Notification of reviewers’ comments & guest editors’ decision 1/2/2015 – 1/3/2015 Resubmission of accepted manuscripts with corrections (to guest editors) 15/3/2015 – 1/5/2015
Final submission of papers to chief editors (after guest editors
have checked if corrections have been made) 1/5/2015 – 1/6/2015
To submit your paper, please go to: and register as a user.

Translation & Interpreting is a refereed international journal that seeks to create a cross-fertilization between research, training and professional practice. It aims to publish high quality, research-based, original articles that highlight the applications of research results to the improvement of T&I training and practice. It welcomes contributions not only from well-known senior scholars, but also from new, young scholars in the field.

It is a free online double blinded refereed journal with the objective to be universally accessible to researchers, educators, students and practitioners of interpreting and translation, as well as to others interested in the discipline.
Abstracted/indexed in: AcademicOneFile, CSA Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, DOAJ Directory of Open Access Journals, Gale, Google Scholar, INFORMIT, Translation Studies Bibliography, Ulrichs.
Translation & Interpreting will be published twice yearly.

For questions, please contact Aline Remael at aline.remael at

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Poems about translation 18: Willis Barnstone, 'ABC of Translating Poetry'

Today's Poem About Translation is Willis Barnstone's ABC of Translating Poetry. It's a poem(ish) about the translation of poems, and it lives in the very pleasing online literary magazine Cipher (not to be confused with the also excellent Irish poetry magazine Cyphers).

Barnstone's poem covers a lot of ground, paying calls to different methods of translation, attempting to debunk some of the more persistent commonplaces about translation. It offers new angles on familiar perspectives on translation, not only of poetry, but mostly of poetry.

It belongs to a rich tradition of epigrammatic reflections on translation by American poet-translators - see also Eliot Weinberger's Notes on Translation from 1988, readable here with Notes on the Notes by Kent Johnson, or Forrest Gander's Homages to Translation ('When I read a poem, I hear it in my thorax') from his 2005 book A Faithful Existence. The Homages can be read online here.

Come to think of it, this is less a Poem About Translation than a Blog Post About Epigrammatic Writing About Translation, all the more so because the status of Barnstone's poem as a poem is not certain. It seems to have started life in prose in Barnstone's 1993 book The Poetics of Translation. That version, with brief introductory remarks by Barnstone, can also be read in a single-page format here.

I think I prefer it as a poem: the layout somehow seems to help the epigrammaticity of it:
A translation is an XRAY,
not a Xerox.

A translator spends a life asking Y?
       Yet the I
       knows it's for U.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

PhD studentship, University of Bristol (Stefan Zweig Archive, British Library)

Lots of scope for a translation-focused project here, I think:

AHRC Doctoral Studentship
Stefan Zweig Collection Literary Manuscripts
University of Bristol and the British Library

The British Library and Bristol University’s School of Modern Languages invite applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to work on the Stefan Zweig Collection Literary Manuscripts, funded under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships scheme, to commence on 1 October 2014.

The Zweig Collection, of literary and musical autograph manuscripts, was the passionate work of one of Austria’s foremost twentieth-century authors and represents a panorama of European culture. The student will on the one hand pursue PhD research, supervised in Bristol, on a topic rooted in the literary autographs, and on the other hand work at the Library on a project to digitise the collection and raise its profile among academic and non-academic audiences. This is an excellent opportunity to experience two complementary institutions and professions at the core of humanities research, and to develop a project as academic scholarship on the one hand and for public impact on the other.

The collection invites research from a wealth of disciplinary angles, and we welcome proposals that engage with it from across that range: Austrian/German literary studies, exile studies, musicology and/or history. With significant literary manuscripts in French (e.g. of Balzac, Baudelaire and Mallarmé) and further important items in other languages (such as a fragment of Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata) the collection would also reward comparative literary research and could suit graduates in two languages or joint subjects who wish to pursue their interests in both disciplines for the PhD.

Further details of the studentship are available here:
Informal enquiries are welcome and may be addressed to Dr Steffan Davies (steffan.davies at, who can also provide further details of the Zweig Collection holdings.

Closing date for applications: 24 March 2014. We envisage that interviews of shortlisted candidates will take place in London on 8 April.

Monday, 3 March 2014

ARTIS Inaugural TS research training symposium, 13 May 2014

Interesting new initiative. Information is from

Call for Papers: ARTIS Inaugural Symposium, University of Manchester, 13 May 2014

ARTIS (Advancing Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies), a new research training initiative building on the long and successful history of the Translation Research Summer School, will hold its inaugural event at the University of Manchester on 13 May 2014.

New Perspectives on Translation is a one-day symposium aimed primarily at doctoral students and early career researchers. We invite proposals for short, ten-minute presentations on ongoing research projects that introduce new perspectives on the performative and cognitive work of translators. Each presentation will be followed by ten minutes of discussion and feedback from leading scholars in the field, including the keynote speakers.

Keynote Speakers
Professor Sandra Bermann (Princeton University, US)
Performativity in Translation Studies: Language, Action, and Interaction (see full abstract below)
Professor Hanna Risku (University of Graz, Austria)
The Leaky Translation Process: New Perspectives in Cognitive Translation Studies (see full abstract below)

Abstracts of 300 words should be sent by 31 March 2014 to Your abstract should state explicitly how your proposed presentation fits with the themes of the keynote sessions, and give a clear indication of the theoretical framework and research methods you are drawing on. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 10 April 2014.

Attendance is free. Online registration will open on 17 March 2014 (link to registration facility will be circulated shortly).

Performativity in Translation Studies
Language, Action, and Interaction
Professor Sandra Bermann (Princeton University, US) 

This talk explores why thinking about translating as ‘performing’ can yield essential insights for translators and translation studies scholars. Nowhere has the centrality of ‘performance’ to translation been more acknowledged than in the domain of literary translation. In ‘hearing the “voice” of the author and the sounds of the text in her own mind and then interpreting through different words, in her own voice’ (Grossman 2010: 11-12), the translator performs the original for a new readership or audience. This talk, however, goes beyond the notion of translation as ‘performance’, in the sense of doing or acting, focusing instead on ‘performativity’, as conceptualised in language and gender studies.
I will begin my critique of performativity and its relevance to translation studies by looking at Austin’s (1962) concept of ‘performative statements’. Austin’s conceptualisation of performativity aptly encapsulates the capacity of literary translators to create (rather than describe) a world filled with characters, places and ideas. In signalling a shift of focus from what language says to what language does, Austin’s performatives also reflect the growing interest of translation scholars in what translation does in certain contexts. I will then move on to consider Derrida’s (1988) views on the performative quality of literary translation. For Derrida, the fact that language is ‘iterative’ (a system of signs that can be repeated and reused in different contexts) and has ‘inaugural power’ (it does something in and to the world) is particularly evident and worth examining in relation to translated texts and their potential for literary action. Finally, the notion of performativity will be examined in terms of the cultural category of gender, as illustrated by Butler’s (1990, 2012) claim that gender is not an essence one possesses, but what we create by repeated acts over time. The final part of the talk will speculate more generally on what these insights can tell us about translation's role in social action and interaction.
The Leaky Translation Process
New Perspectives in Cognitive Translation Studies
Professor Hanna Risku (University of Graz, Austria) 

Cognitive science approaches seek to understand and explain how cognitive processes work – especially how translators produce translations. In this presentation, I discuss current developments in the cognitive strand of translation studies in the individual/network field. I begin with a brief description of TS and the particularities of the cognitive science perspective, then go on to discuss how selected contemporary approaches in cognitive science can contribute to the transition from cognitive to socio-cognitive TS. In doing so, I seek to demonstrate that the individual and network perspectives are intrinsically linked, and that this change in perspective moves translation management into centre stage in cognitive TS. Based on current developments and insights, I make several suggestions for the cognitive TS field, some of which might also be of relevance for TS as a whole. I formulate 10 cognitive TS hypotheses that also merit the “socio-cognitive TS” name and address the goals, object, interdisciplinary nature, perspectives and key focus of cognitive TS. These hypotheses also require a number of methodological innovations in cognitive TS. From a methodological perspective, the observation of the parameters of isolated phenomena in a laboratory setting must be augmented by observation of dynamic courses of action in which people interact in the field with their environments and artefacts (instruments, technologies). Social processes and embeddedness become central aspects of the observation and analysis.